HIghlights for week two of the Bedford Park Festival

Image above: St Michael & All Angels Church, organisers of the Bedford Park Festival; photograph by Roger Green

Festival organisers say “it’s great to be back!” with sell-out audiences

Week Two stars include Phyllis Logan, Rosemary Ashe, Gerard Logan and Mark Viner. The Weekend Finale features a Fete, Flower Festival, Haydn St Nicholas Mass and Open Gardens.

As Week Two of the Bedford Park Festival opens, the organisers and performers have said “it’s great to be back”. Local residents have flocked to attend the first live concerts, talks and exhibitions at St Michael & All Angels Church for more than a year.

Amid COVID safety restrictions, the church was full several times in the first week – with excellent attendances for the art and photography exhibitions. More events are selling out ahead of the ‘Grand Finale’ weekend, June 25 to 27. All the forthcoming events are listed here: bedfordparkfestival.org

“It was wonderful to welcome live audiences and musicians again” said Fr Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels Church, which hosts and organises the Festival. “People were so pleased to be back, enjoying top-quality performances in person.”

Image above: Milly Forrest and Ian Tindale, following their sell-out recital in St Michael & All Angels; photograph: David Beresford

“This was a really special occasion” said soprano Milly Forrest, who gave the first concert in St Michael’s on Wednesday, just three days after performing in the Wigmore Hall. “There was something in the air, and it wasn’t just thunder” tweeted pianist Ian Tindale, who accompanied her. “Bravo Milly, and thank you the festival and to a fabulous audience”.

This week, events at Chiswick Playhouse – including An Evening with Phyllis Logan on Tuesday – have sold out and will be livestreamed for those who couldn’t get a ticket. Tickets are also selling fast for Rosemary Ashe’s ‘lockdown’ tribute to Dora Bryan, ‘Adorable Dora’, and the piano recital by Mark Viner, who is described as “one of the most gifted pianists of his generation”. There will be no refreshments sold in the church this year – but fortunately the Tabard pub is just over the road and gives a warm welcome to Festival-goers!

Image above: Gerald Logan in Hauntings

The Festival’s “Grand Finale” weekend opens on Friday with the three-day Bedford Park Flower Festival in the church, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first flower festival. That evening, in ‘Hauntings’, Olivier-nominated actor Gerard Logan delivers two classic tales of the supernatural from master story-tellers E.F. Benson and M.R. James, directed by Gareth Armstrong.

On Saturday, from 10am till 4pm, in the grounds of St Michael & All Angels on Bath Road, there’s a Festival Fete to help make up for the lack of Green Days weekend this year. There will be stalls selling Hats, Scarves and Bags, Bric-a-brac, Books and Homemade Cakes, plus a Champagne Lottery, Bottle Tombola, representatives of three Charities, Children’s Lucky Dip and a Pick-a-lolly. That evening, soprano Luci de Nordwall Cornish gives a song recital in the church – From Dusk to Dawn – including works from Brahms and Schubert and American Songbook favourites.

On Sunday, at 11am there is the Festival Mass, a highlight of the fortnight for many years. This year’s setting is the Haydn St Nicholas Mass, performed by a smaller choir and orchestra than usual. Because of the continuing COVID restrictions, people must book a ticket for this service – and it will also be livestreamed on the St Michael & All Angels Facebook account.

On Sunday afternoon, from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm, the Festival comes to a close with the return of the Bedford Park Open Gardens, which were displayed online last year, through photos and videos. This year, 13 of the area’s most beautiful private gardens will be open to the public.

To avoid crowding, people must pre-book their tickets in one of two arrival slots – from 2pm or after 3.30pm – and pick up a map of the gardens from St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall. Sadly there will be no cream teas this year, because of the continuing restrictions – but the organisers hope that local cafes such as The Post Room will do a roaring trade.

The Post Room, the Tabard and Chiswick Playhouse are just some of the Festival’s local business partners who have given great support this year. All the event sponsors are listed on the Festival’s Partners page: bedfordparkfestival.org

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Novice photographer wins the Bedford Park Festival Photography competition

See also: See all the entries in the Bedford Park Festival Photography competition

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